"Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world." ~ Lucille Ball
Just so we're crystal clear, this is not dating advice. The day the Dojo starts dishing out dating advice, please stop reading.
This is, however, a discussion about being an actor and its parallels to ye olde ritual that is courtship. It's also a nice companion to this piece, so feel free to wiggle on over there if the mood takes you.
In both actor life and dating, the urge to "sell" oneself can be pretty compelling. Understandably, we want to make the best impression possible, but this can often lead to us trying just that little too hard. As we've all likely experienced in one context or the other, trying too hard almost invariably sabotages our chance of success.
We're Dojo actors. We're a tribe of badass ninja homies committed to giving meaningful opportunities our all, which is awesome and inspiring and rare. However, this also means we probably tend towards the "try hard" end of the spectrum. This isn't a dig — it actually holds great hope: if we can channel our abundant sincerity wisely, we'll find ourselves really stacking those odds in our favour.
The secret of attraction
This may be no surprise, but studies have shown time and time again that confidence is one of the most attractive qualities we can possess.
There's a little * here though: it's confidence that's irresistible, not cockiness. As such, it can be helpful to frame this quality as healthy self-esteem — an internal security system that doesn't need to "sell" itself, that doesn't need external validation.
The problem is that most of us are running around with our personal security systems disabled. In life life, this could be due to other people or society in general. In actor life, this just seems to be a current occupational hazard. And while we'll never be able to control these outer variables, we can control our response. The most constructive one being to reinstall that innate inner technology.
The Love Tank
We all love a good metaphor, and it seems relationship experts now have a new one of choice: the "Love Tank".
The Love Tank imagines the health of a relationship as a fuel gauge. When we make regular deposits, our fuel gauge remains near full. If, however, we withdraw without taking frequent pit stops to refuel, we soon hit empty.
The Love Tank applies to our relationships with ourselves and those with others. When applied to ourselves, the result is greater self-acceptance and self-esteem. Again, this isn't dating advice, but let's just say the concept is equally as effective when applied to relationships with others 😉
Because we're your trusty nerd friend, we've developed a three-step game plan to help guide the Love Tank refuelling process. If this metaphor doesn't sail your ship, pick whichever does. Goodness knows we've bombarded this post with more than enough of them (# sorrynotsorry).
Awareness. As with many things in life, we start here. We first need to pause and take a reading of our Love Tank's fuel gauge — is our little arrow pointing towards the "F" end of the meter, or the "E"? If "F", awesome. We may already have rituals and/or routines in place that help keep us here. Or perhaps we've just caught ourselves on a good day and recognise we'd be aided by a wee bit of systemising. If "E", don't stress. We're in the same boat as the majority of the world's population. Unlike the majority, however, we're committed to flipping this script.
Acknowledge. Armed with our current reading, we move on to the second step. Which, for most of us, will be the hardest one to take. Here's where we let a simple truth sink into our bones: no person, possession, job, award, or position of power can truly fill our Love Tank. If we return to the hot new car-'n'-fuel analogy, expecting anything other than our own self-care and acceptance to do the trick is akin to filling up our car with the wrong fuel. We poison the engine and could be looking at a very pricey repair bill. We'll likely need to bathe in this truth for some time. But bathe we must if we value our sanity (both in "life" life and on the actor's path). We'll leave it with you.
Action. The third and final step is to list (and then execute) ways in which we personally refuel our Love Tank. This can take a gazillion shapes and sizes, so no need to censor or judge. But to get the ball rolling, here are some of the common practices we found in our research:
Getting our "Results" Fix.
Exercise. Especially outdoor exercise.
A bath/spa sesh.
Spending time with those whose love is unconditional (this can 100% be a pet, by the way).
An act of generosity or service.
Prevention is always better than cure, so ideally we hit a pit stop on the daily. But we get it, life throws in a plot twist when we least expect it, so be kind. Anything, any time, is better than nothing, never.
Disclaimer: We will not be held responsible for any increase in personal or professional admirers as a result of following the method outlined above. That be solely due to your own fabulousness, darling.
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Thoughts / feedback / challenges? We'd genuinely love to hear.
While we can't always reply to every message, we honestly do read each one.